Exton Towards Old Winchester Hill (Roman Road Survey)
Excavations beside r Meon
LIDAR Map of Exton and the Roman Grid
A reason this direct route Winchester to Chichester was sought was because of the settlement known from Roman sources as CLAUSENTUM. At present some people think it is located in Southampton, but if there was a direct Roman Road linking Winchester and Chichester then from the mileages quoted it would be near the river at Exton.
The above image of a grid system was obtained from LIDAR. Very prominent are the Principal N - S and E - W grid lines. Both form light lines bounded by Dark line, for the N - S the Dark Lines are ~ 10m apart, and these lines are shown. Both of these can be seen on the ground. The E - W becomes a huge Causeway west of the A32 until the old course of the river Meon - and probably continued as a causeway right across the flood plain to the west of A32, where intermittent LIDAR marks are shown.
Roman settlements generally have a grid system, with Principal Streets, and lesser streets. Three weaker E - W grid lines can be seen on the LIDAR, shown as single lines. Crossing this grid obliquely are our three Roman Road lanes. The grid lines and Roman Road lanes also have air photo lines following them - discussed in the first Report above.
We have excavated where the Northern Roman lane crosses a Street Grid. The Street Grid is rammed chalk 50ms above the natural chalk, but buried under deep Roman stonework. We uncovered a length of the street grid and determined its width, agreeing with the LIDAR 8m. The conclusion is that both the Street Grid and Roman Lane are buried deeply under a later Roman feature, which acted as an Edge or Quay to a Roman water feature produced by the Causeway. This Quay was built of crushed flint - the deep Roman stonework - which can be seen in the picture below. These excavations are being written up.
August 2019 Bank Holiday dig found the Principal E - W Grid which goes across the flood plain on the Causeway. This will be continued in May 2020. What the Causeway was constructed of will be determined. The remains of the Causeway extend some 20m west of the A32 - and is 100m wide.
In September 2018 we found a substantial Roman pottery scatter mainly north of the Principal E - W Grid, and west of the Principal N - S Grid line (see above map). It appears that Shavards Lane is at right angles to the Roman lanes - and is probably Roman. This is the reason for saying some Roman development may follow the Roman Road Lanes, with Shavards Lane an early Grid Line.
The above finds are throughout the subsoil - one only expects Roman finds to be near the subsoil surface. Thus the whole of this layer has been up in Roman times. Indeed Layer 3 below was an especially laid layer of stones containing the Roman finds shown.
There was then a layer of subsoil without stones which contained 1 Roman shard:
There was then a layer of stones containing 7 red Roman shards on top of the natural chalk:
The start of Trench 6 - the completed trench is the first photo above
Tent keeping us cool in very hot weather
In August we sought the northern end of this street grid in Trench 3, finding it at 71cms below ground surface. In Trenches 4 & 5 it appeared as rammed chalk with a few finds in it, in Trench 3 it was chalk stones with quite a lot of Roman pottery rammed together. It appears to end by the north of the Trench 3, but we will have to get deeper for the exact position. This was done in the May 2019 Bank Holiday Digs, when we foumd remains of the Roman Road - but much of it was taken up when the Quay was constructed.
The August 2019 dig found the Principal E - W Grid on the Causeway. This will be continued in May 2020 to establish its northern end, and what the Causeway is made of. There are also two minor Grid Lines running on the Causeway which will be examined.
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